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Understanding Japan’s Demographic ‘Crisis’: an alternative perspective on population decline

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The declining birth rates and shrinking populations in countries like Japan and North Korea have sparked concerns over potential economic slowdowns due to smaller labor forces
These trends are not isolated, with UN projections indicating a global shift towards lower fertility rates and eventual population declines in over 55 mostly high-income countries by 2100

🔭 The context: Urbanization and the high costs of child-rearing, particularly in countries like Japan, have contributed significantly to falling birth rates
Japan, facing a steep population decline since 2008, has introduced natalist policies aiming to stabilize its population, yet struggles with cultural and financial hurdles in reversing these trends

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Population decline challenges traditional economic growth models, which rely on a growing labor force
However, it also presents an opportunity to transition towards more sustainable and innovation-driven economies, less dependent on continuous population growth

⏭️ What's next: Governments are exploring solutions, including raising retirement ages, increasing female workforce participation, and expanding immigration, to address labor shortages
These strategies, alongside investing in innovation and sustainability, could redefine economic growth in the context of declining populations

💬 One quote: "A shrinking population does not necessarily spell doom for economic growth. It is not the size of the population but the quality of its contributions that truly drive sustained economic advancement," (Roos van Keulen, Dutch diplomat)

📈 One stat: Japan's fertility rate currently stands at 1.37, far below the 2.1 threshold needed to maintain population stability, highlighting the urgency of addressing declining birth rates

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